November is a time for yearly traditions, like blacking out the night before Thanksgiving and waking up with a hangover and renewed hatred for your hometown. Or, for writers, there is the yearly tradition of #NaNoWriMo which is simultaneously a hashtag and an unnecessary commitment to stress. The NaNoWriMo movement in the writing community of the internet (and assumedly not the internet if you’re anti-social enough to be writing some whiney millenial version of Walden) is a challenge to write a novel from start to finish in one month, specifically November. I’ve never partaken in this tradition before, mostly because I don’t hate myself or potential readers nearly enough, but this year I figured why not take a running jump into the deep end of the failure pool. Especially since I can’t swim. So, for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’ll attempt my first shot at the noir genre with a novel I’m tentatively calling Dick Joke Noir. Because I love cheesy noir stories, and I love dick jokes. And I pretend to be a writer.
The premise at the moment is simple: noir stories are the Scooby-Doo episodes of the literary world, generally following a boilerplate set-up, premise, resolution, characters, setting, etc. I’m not one to judge, but maybe all of these people should stop hiring such drunk private investigators, and maybe these drunk PI’s shouldn’t be shocked when an attractive dame visits the office, because it happens every goddamn day apparently. So, by taking these tropes, archetypes, and leggy women with long cigarettes, but adding the juvenile humor enjoyed by myself and my fellow Mensa members, we’ll attempt to bang out a story. Ha, bang out a story. See what I did there? Obviously I’m qualified for the task.
As a way of generating content for this website, I’ll update the progress of the novel throughout the month of NaNoWriMo. There’s no crystal ball, but I’m predicting a fiery ball of miserable failure. It will be a flaming wreckage of dick jokes and lines like, “I took a long drag on my cigarette and watched as the cold, dead body floated further down the river.” It’s going to be tough to write the words, “Also, it was raining” so many times in one novel, but I’m up for the challenge. The experiment itself should be a window into the mind of a man who understands creativity, but lacks it, like a chimpanzee attempting a jazz saxophone solo. And did my novel just get itself a scene where a monkey plays a sexy jazz solo? Maybe, maybe not – that’s the kind of suspense that a reader can expect from Dick Joke Noir (a working but also probable title).
If readers have suggestions or comments, feel free to let me know. I’m about as dedicated to artistic integrity as any other writer whose credit card has ever been declined at a Brueggers bagel. Apparently cream cheese stretches the boundaries of Visa’s generosity. What I’m saying is, I’m fully open to critique and suggestion as long as it is extremely flattering, not at all critical, and mentions how attractive I look when pensively considering how to write a dick joke into a murder plot in 1940’s Pittsburgh.And there’s your first bit of plot, because I’ve decided to set the story in Pittsburgh during a time when the entire city was under a constant haze of smoke. That way when all of the characters smoke, readers will be comforted that they’ll die from the coal dust long before the nicotine. Sure, New York was probably a much better setting in the 1940s, but my experience has only been with modern New York, which is basically a poorly operated airport terminal that thinks it’s a city.
So stay tuned for the thrilling beginning, middle, and disappointing end to the creation of Dick Joke Noir.